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ISRAEL UPDATE 21.3.24

PURIM SAMEACH TO MY READERS

POST-SCRIPT TO LAST WEEK’S TERROR ATTACK

 

 

A member of Israel’s security forces, Senior Warrant Officer Uri Moyal, 51, who was stabbed and critically wounded in a terror attack north of Beersheba, succumbed to his wounds last Thursday night. He had managed to shoot the Gazan assailant who was given Israeli citizenship in 2019 after marriage to an Israeli woman. Report here

 

HOSTAGES

 

Released hostage Judith Raanan, 56, an American citizen who was abducted to Gaza with her teenage daughter Natalie from Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Oct. 7, said in her first interview: “Once we entered the Gaza Strip, my daughter and I were taken with other hostages by armed Hamas terrorists to a hospital. When we arrived, the nurses and medical staff were all so happy that they came back with prey, with Israeli, Jewish prey. The minute we came in, all the nurses were standing there and ululating (cheering).” Report here

 

UPDATE ON ISRAEL’S EVACUEES

 

 

 

Some 32,000 out of 60,000 people evacuated by the government from locales within a 7-km. radius of Israel’s border with Gaza are back in their communities. Another 60,000 people were evacuated from the north due to Hizbullah fire. No date for their return has been set.Report here

ISRAEL’S WAR AGAINST HAMAS

THIS WEEK’S  SHIFA HOSPITAL IDF OPERATION IN GAZA

 

The IDF had planned the reinvasion of Shifa Hospital on Monday for a number of days, waiting for the right timing to surprise Hamas terrorists and catch them off guard. IDF soldiers identified terrorist fire toward them from a number of hospital buildings and engaged the terrorists.Report here

 

Faiq Mabhouh, a senior commander in Hamas’ internal security, was killed at Shifa Hospital in Gaza on Monday. Palestinian sources said he was tasked by Hamas to guard food trucks bringing supplies to northern Gaza. His mission was to intimidate local clans so that they refuse to cooperate with Israel on food distribution.Report here

 

Mahmoud Kawasme, a senior Hamas official who was one of the planners and financiers of a terror cell that kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens in 2014, was arrested by Israeli security forces at the hospital.
Kawasme was deported to Gaza in the 2011 prisoner swap for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, from where he directed Hamas terrorist activities in the West Bank.Report here

 

 

The IDF reported Wednesday that 90 terrorists had been eliminated and over 300 suspects detained and questioned as part of the military’s ongoing operation in the Al Shifa Hospital . “Over the past day, the troops have eliminated terrorists and located weapons in the hospital area, while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams, and medical equipment”. Among those arrested were dozens of terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad who were involved in directing terrorist operations in the West Bank, operating public relations units, and operating in the Islamic Jihad’s rocket unit.Report hereand here

 

UPDATE: Today (Thursday) The IDF and Shin Bet security agency say troops have captured some 650 terror operatives during the ongoing operation at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, including several senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders. Report here

 

 

PALESTINIAN PUBLIC OPINION

 

 

71% of Palestinians say Hamas’ decision to launch the Oct. 7 offensive was correct, according to a poll conducted on March 5-10, 2024, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank, the 71% figure is down from 82% in December who agreed with the decision to launch the onslaught. In Gaza, however, the number was a significant increase from the 57% who backed the move three months earlier…80% say they did not see videos, shown by international news outlets, of acts committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians, such as the killing of women and children in their homes. 93% said Hamas did not commit these atrocities. Poll results hereReport here

 

AID FOR GAZA

 

A convoy of 31 trucks containing food and other humanitarian aid made its way to northern Gaza last Thursday night. An hour before the convoy arrived at an IDF-established corridor, armed Palestinians opened fire while civilians were waiting for the aid trucks…. The IDF issued aerial footage showing Palestinian gunmen opening fire amid the crowd during the first incident, an hour before the aid trucks had arrived.Report here Video here

A ship carrying 130 pallets of humanitarian equipment and 115 tons of food and water from the World Central Kitchen organization, led by the UAE, arrived in Gaza from Cyprus in coordination with Israel on Friday. The IDF said the vessel and the aid underwent a comprehensive security check. Additionally, U.S. Central Command conducted its 11th airdrop of humanitarian aid into Gaza on Friday.Report here

One person was crushed to death and others were injured in northern Gaza as a result of a stampede while crowds were waiting for an airdrop of humanitarian aid, the Palestinians reported Saturday. Report here

 

NORTHERN FRONT – (LEBANON)

 

Since Oct 8, there has been near-daily violence along the Lebanon-Israel border, in which 8 Israeli civilians and 11 soldiers have been killed.
Israel has targeted 4,500 Hizbullah sites in the past five months. But Hizbullah’s well-stocked and deeply entrenched operatives continue to launch rockets, and Israel said the terrorists  have attempted to or have actually crossed the border half a dozen times. Article here

 

Two IDF soldiers were wounded by Hizbullah rocket fire in northern Israel on Tuesday. Several rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Israel throughout the day.Report here

 

 

EASTERN FRONT

 

Sheikh Mahmoud Nofal, the imam of Hebron’s Al-Qasim Mosque and a Hamas operative, opened fire with an AK-47 rifle toward the Jewish community in the city of Hebron while visiting a nearby Muslim cemetery on Saturday, before being shot dead by security forces.Report here

 

Two agents from the Israel Security Agency were wounded Tuesday in a shooting attack in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. One of them shot and killed their assailant.Report here

The IDF and Israel Security Agency eliminated senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Ahmed Barakat, who murdered Meir Tamari in May 2023 in a drive-by shooting, and was behind an attack on March 8 that injured seven soldiers… Since the beginning of the war, 3,500 wanted individuals have been arrested in the West Bank, including 1,500 linked to Hamas. About 350 terrorists were killed. Report here

 

 

 Dozens of Palestinians vandalized a Jewish archaeological site from the Second Temple period located on state land in Area C, and built a parking lot on top of it. Report here

 

SOUTHERN FRONT (YEMEN)

 

 

On Monday night, for the first time, a cruise missile fired  from the Houthi-controlled area of Yemen entered Israeli airspace. It fell in an unpopulated area north of Eilat.Report here

 

 

THE ARAMEAN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IN ISRAEL

 

 

 Israel is home to 185,000 Christians, including 15,000 Arameans, whose ancestors lived in the Levant before the Arab conquest and were early followers of Jesus.
In 2014 Israel recognized the Aramean Christian community, an important step toward their fuller integration into Israeli society.
Shadi Khaloul founded the Kinneret pre-army programme at Kibbutz Beit Zera in 2017, where half the students are Aramean Christians. His uncle served in the IDF, and his father was an Israeli policeman. Khaloul joined the IDF and became a paratrooper at 18.
He says  “Jews and Aramean Christians are the indigenous people of the region. We developed from Jews. If we deny Jewish existence here, we deny our own.”
“Only in Israel are Christians safe. They want to keep the country strong. They saw what Hamas did, and they say that this threat will follow them too.”Article here (paywall)

 

 

FOREIGN WORKERS

 

 Israel’s Ministry of Housing has begun a plan to bring 40,000 more foreign workers to Israel for the construction industry. By the end of June, 10,000 foreign workers will arrive from India to replace workers from China and Moldova.  The goal is to ultimately to bring 65,000 foreign workers to replace Palestinian workers. Report here

MEDIA BIAS

 

 

The BBC ignored complaints about anti-Israel posts by several journalists for more than a year, and even allowed them to report on the current Israel-Hamas war.

In 2022, complaints about Marie-José Azzi ,who described Israel as a “terrorist state” & an “apartheid” country in tweets supporting the BDS campaign against Israel, were made to the BBC who did nothing. Recently she was credited alongside fellow BBC Arabic journalist Soha Ibrahim in a BBC Verify piece published this month that alleged Israeli soldiers beat and humiliated Gazan medics after a raid on Nasser Hospital. Ibrahim has “liked” videos of people in Lebanon and Tunisia celebrating the October 7 Hamas attacks.Article hereand here

 

 

CANADA

 

Canada’s foreign minister’s announcement on Tuesday of an arms embargo on Israel comes at a time when Israeli weapons systems are protecting Canadian pilots, fighters, and naval combatants around the world…In the last decade, the Canadian Defence Ministry has purchased Israeli weapon systems worth more than a billion dollars after examining their performance, prices, and delivery times compared to those of other Western companies.Article here

 

HUMOUR

 

 

Andrew Doyle: Are Hamas Misunderstood? (1 min 37 sec) Warning: strong language.Video here

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

Paul Morland: The argument that conditions in Gaza were so dreadful that Gazans had no choice but to “break out” on Oct. 7 is wrong-headed.

 The sheer growth of Gaza’s population tells an eloquent story. In 1967, when Israel occupied the Strip, its population was slightly below 400,000. By the eve of the current conflict it had risen five-fold. Really fast population growth occurs when a society gets improved healthcare and rising access to food and other resources.
Gaza’s golden opportunity came after the Israelis arrived in 1967, accelerating the flow of many benefits of modernity. In the mid-1960s, around one baby in ten died in the Palestinian territories before he or she reached the age of one; by the late 2010s, this had fallen well over 80% to a level similar to other Arab countries such as Jordan and Egypt and equivalent to the level the UK reached in the early 1970s.
At 75 years, life expectancy in Gaza was better than experienced by several U.S. states. Males in Glasgow live only a few months longer than males in Gaza. By 2020, the average Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza was living a whole two decades longer than had been the case when the Israelis had conquered the Strip in 1967.
Illiteracy has been more or less banished and the share of those going to university has approached 50%; before 1967, neither the West Bank nor Gaza had a single fully-fledged university.

…the general availability of food in Gaza which, despite the propagandistic claims of Hamas, was plentiful before it instigated the current war. There were more than four overweight children in the territories for each underweight one. Beach resorts, five-star hotels and luxury-car dealerships graced Gaza prior to the present conflict. Poverty had more to do with the welfare and redistributive policies of the Hamas regime rather than any restrictions on the import of goods by Israel or Egypt. Article here (paywall)

 

 

Michael Hochberg and Leonard Hochberg:

Hamas is perhaps the first regime in recorded history to fight a war designed to maximize casualties among their own population…The popular accusation of disproportionality is aimed to prevent Western-aligned nations from achieving decisive victories. Even when the allies of the U.S. have the military capacity to break the will of the enemy, thereby imposing peace on the defeated, they will be forced to resort to fighting forever wars. Article here

 

 

Stephen Daisley: If the international community wants Israel to stop bombing Gaza, the international community should take over Gaza and stop Hamas attacking Israel. But the global community, with its cherished norms and spottily applied international law, much prefers to chastise Israel from afar. Get any closer and it would have to confront some unpleasant truths about those it caricatures as villains and those it fetishizes as victims.
It would find itself in Israel’s shoes, learning on the job that messy as Jerusalem’s military strategy sometimes is, it is based on bitter experience of the enemy and a necessary ruthlessness that matches the nature of the threat.Article here (paywall)

 

 

Jonathan S. Tobin: Hamas is counting on the images of Palestinian anguish, which they caused, to bail them out. They see the focus of the international community and the U.S. on the aid question, rather than on demanding that Hamas end its futile resistance. By acting as if the priority is to push aid into Gaza, regardless of the fact that most of it is being stolen by Hamas, they are prolonging the war and increasing rather than alleviating the pain of Palestinians.

The only way to ease Palestinian suffering is to help Israel to complete the defeat of Hamas and end its control of any part of Gaza. Once that happens, the problem of feeding and caring for Palestinians becomes simpler. Pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire before the terrorists are finished will only mean more privation for Palestinians as well as more blood spilled by Hamas.Article here

 

 

Ophir Falk: John Spencer, chairman of urban warfare studies at West Point, says that Israel is setting the “gold standard” for avoiding civilian casualties.
Israel doesn’t need prompting to provide humanitarian aid or to act with caution. According to retired British Col. Richard Kemp, the average combatant-to-civilian death ratio in Gaza is about 1 to 1.5. According to the UN, the average combatant-to-civilian death ratio in urban warfare has been 1 to 9.
The city of Rafah is Hamas’ last stronghold and its defeat there is a prerequisite for victory. Whoever pressures Israel to refrain from entering Rafah is preventing the destruction of Hamas and the freeing of Israel and Gazan civilians from Hamas’ stranglehold. Gen. David Petraeus, who led the 2007 American surge in Iraq, said last week that the “key now is to not stop until Hamas is fully destroyed.” Asking Israel to stop the war now is akin to telling the Allies to stop halfway to Berlin in World War II.Article here

 

Meir Ben Shabbat :The Biden administration has not internalized that for Israel, the defeat of Hamas is an existential issue. It is not like America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were conducted thousands of miles away. Israel’s deterrence that collapsed on Oct. 7 will not be restored if Israel stops short of meeting the goals it has defined for the war. The temptation for players in our region to attack it will grow.Article here

 

 

Hugh Hewitt : In World War II, the people of the United States did not worry about the devastation of civilian neighbourhoods in Berlin brought about by Allied bombers or hardships visited upon “innocent Germans.”

Now intense pressure is being brought to bear on the IDF to limit their offensive as a result of “reports” of casualties in Gaza put out by Hamas. We cannot believe the Hamas numbers. What we do know is that Israel has no choice but to prosecute the war in Gaza until Hamas is destroyed, it’s senior leadership dead or fled, and a semblance of security returned to the people of Israel.

For 17 years, Israel pursued a policy of co-existence with the terror organization that controlled Gaza, with Israeli government after government counting on the evolution of Hamas into a governing authoritarian regime but not one devoted to massacring Jews. Now we know that Hamas is a death cult. If allowed to remain in Gaza in any significant size and with its underground fortress intact, it will be a matter of time until Hamas unleashes another wave of horrific barbarism.

The war in Gaza must be won by Israel and the only reason there is a war at all is because of Hamas. Only the end of Hamas in Gaza – which means a ground operation in Rafah – will bring peace to that devastated region. Article here

 

 

JPost Editorial:.(The Canadian decision to halt arms sales to Israel)… surely came as a sorely needed piece of good news to Hamas leaders, who can look at this decision as evidence that if they hold out just a little bit longer, then the world will condemn Israel and seek to tie the Jewish state’s hands behind its back…
The Canadian government has confused the aggressor with the victim and lost sight of who is responsible for the horrible and undeniable suffering taking place inside Gaza.Article here